Beating the winter blues at Airlie Beach Race Week

There is no better way to beat the winter blues than sailing at Airlie Beach Race Week and among those planning their winter escape are reigning and past yachting champions, Roger Hickman (Wild Rose), Bob Steel with his latest ‘Quest’ and Peter Sorensen (The Philosopher’s Club).

Hickman won the Rolex Sydney Hobart last December with his 30 year-old Farr 43, Wild Rose, while Steel has won the race twice with different Quests – 2002 and 2008. He will compete at Whitsunday Sailing Club’s (WSC) ‘Tropical Shirt’ regatta with a boat of a very different kind, a M.A.T. 1180, the exciting new generation 39 IRC Racer.

Sorensen will join the pair in the IRC Racing class. The solicitor comes from a strong background in 16 and 18 foot skiffs, but has also proved his mettle with his Sydney 36 Cruiser/Racer, ‘The Philosopher’s Club’. Victories include the Sydney Harbour Regatta, Geelong Week and twice winning the Audi IRC Australian Championship.

Sports Boats

Sports Boats add excitement to Race Week. They are fast and fun and sailed by characters who christen their boats with fun names.

Mister Magoo (Jason Ruckert, Qld); The Ducks Nuts (Mitch De Vries, WA); Octopussy (Rees Howell, WA), Crank (Andrew Wiklund, Qld) and Vivace (John Rae, Qld) will join their compatriots for the competition on Pioneer Bay ahead of their State and National Championships. 

Andrew Wiklund says: “I came to Race Week years ago on a Farr 40, but this is my first time there with a sports boat. We’re coming for the scenery, the fun – and the good racing.

“We’ve just had our Winter Nationals at Mooloolaba and there was only seconds between us and Vivace, so game on! Mr Magoo is always a threat on handicap, so it’ll be a great week,” he finished.


As is usual, the Cruising division is proving enormously appealing to those who have a more laid-back approach and who like to take in the unsurpassed and idyllic views of the Whitsundays where whale watching, dolphins at play and the odd turtle are all part and parcel of the event. And there is no better platform than from a cruising yacht.

Those entered so far include famous maxi of yesteryear, Condor, owned by WSC member David Molloy, while past Royal Geelong Yacht Club commodore, John Kint is bringing his Adams/Radford designed ‘Bundaberg’ from Victoria and 

John and Kim Clinton are making their yearly pilgrimage from Sydney with Holy Cow!, their Beneteau Oceanis 50.

Other classes

Competition is also building across the other classes and divisions; Multihull Racing and Multihull Passage, IRC Passage, Performance Racing and Cruising Non-Spinnaker. 

Entertainment ramps up

Results will be announced at post-race drinks following racing each day and WSC will have entertainment every night.

Friday 7 August – Welcome Briefing at WSC and dance up a storm to Monserrat, the Jimmy Buffett Tribute band

Monday 10 – Unwind at WSC prior to Lay-Day with Pantastic, a calypso band

Friday 14 – Awards Night at WSC

Additionally, at official Airlie Beach Race Week social venues to be announced, competitors will be entertained by the following:

Saturday 8 August – Matt Angell will keep you on your feet

Sunday 9 – Lightning Jack, a Blues band

Tuesday 11- Johnny Taylor, Middle of the Road

Wednesday 12 – Gypsy Soul, an upbeat all round band

The 26th edition of Airlie Beach Race Week will be held from 7-14 August on the waters of Pioneer Bay and the Whitsunday Passage. There will be a lay day mid-regatta, offering a great opportunity for competitors family and friends to take advantage of the leisure activities Airlie Beach and its surrounds have to offer.

Entry is online only and closes on Saturday 1st August 2015. The race committee may accept late entries after this date subject to an additional late fee of $150.00, so best to get your entry in now.

For entry form, Notice of Race and all information, go to: 

Further information on Whitsunday Sailing Club:

– Di Pearson, ABRW media

Jeanneau JY60
M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts
Jeanneau JY60
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